Texas Struggles To Find Affordable Housing For Released Prisoners


Few of the thousands of offenders released by the Texas prison system each year are able to find steady jobs or stable housing, both of which help prevent recidivism, syas the Texas Tribune. Roughly a quarter of them are back in prison within three years. The state has contracts with seven halfway houses to offer subsidized housing to about 1,800 former inmates after release. Last year alone, about 72,000 people were released from state prisons. “It’s a problem,” said Jorge Renaud, a policy analyst for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. “There is nowhere near the amount of transitional housing that we need.”

Jason Clark, a spokesman for the criminal justice department, said the agency “is working to secure additional halfway house beds, but demand remains higher than the beds that are available.” Priority is given to those who “need closer supervision and special services or who lack family and community resources,” he said. For many inmates, the private market is not an easy option. At the Hand Up, roughly half of the 32 available beds are empty despite dozens of applicants, because “you've got to be able to pay the rent,” said Sheila Jarboe-Lickteig, who runs it, “You’ve got the people that are coming out of prison that can pay,” she added, “and you’ve got those that cannot pay. There are a lot more who cannot pay.” Even with the high vacancy rate, she said, the house is full of success stories.

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